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A subdural hematoma is a serious condition where blood collects between the brain surface and the skull. This is due to blood escaping from a damaged vessel in the subdural space and forming a blood clot (hematoma). A car crash, violent assault or a fall are some situations where head injury can result in a subdural hematoma. In a few cases, a mild bump on the head can also cause one. A minor head injury is more likely to cause a subdural hematoma if an individual is over 60, taking blood-thinning medication or has a history of alcohol abuse.

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Confused or slurred speech

There are many causes of slurred speech such as alcohol intoxication or a drug overdose or misused medication. Common causes of slurred speech are neurological disorders such as brain injury, brain tumors or a stroke. It’s important to react quickly to this symptom because if it is an indication of a stroke, rapid treatment can preserve brain function. If it is due to a subdural hematoma, surgery is recommended. Very small subdural hematomas may be carefully monitored at first to see if they heal without an operation. Medications like diuretics and corticosteroids can help to reduce and control brain swelling.

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Problems with balance or walking

For proper balance, many parts of your body need to work together. If the messages to and from the brain get disrupted, it can affect your balance. There are numerous reasons why you may experience problems with balancing and walking, including an inner ear infection, Parkinson’s disease, and Multiple Sclerosis. Your doctor will have to eliminate other conditions by looking at all your symptoms. If your problems occur after a severe head injury, you may have a subdural hematoma which needs surgery. If surgery is recommended, it will be carried out by a neurosurgeon. He may decide to do a craniotomy or to drill a burr hole, depending on the nature of your injury.

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A headache that keeps getting worse

If you have a headache that keeps getting worse, it could be the result of problems with blood vessels and bleeding in the brain. Other causes of severe headaches include migraines, very high blood pressure, a brain tumor or a build-up of fluid in the skull. If your headache appears after head trauma and it gets worse, an operation will relieve it. The neurosurgeon may do a craniotomy which involves removing a section of the skull temporarily to access and remove the hematoma. This is performed under general anesthetic and is the primary treatment for a subdural hematoma that develops soon after a severe head injury.

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Confusion

When you are confused, you feel as though you can’t think clearly. You may feel disorientation and have a hard time focusing. Confusion can have many different causes such as infection, substance abuse or injury. It is essential to find out the underlying cause. If you experience confusion following head trauma, you need to go to the emergency room right away. If your disorder is caused by a subdural hematoma that developed a few days after a minor head injury, burr hole surgery is the main treatment. This involves drilling a small hole into the skull and inserting a tube to drain the hematoma.

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Seizures

A problem that can occur after a traumatic brain injury is seizures. Seizures can happen in one to five out of ten people. During a seizure, abnormal electrical activity in the brain results in symptoms such as strange movements, unresponsiveness, staring, not being able to speak or understand others and a peculiar sound, smell, taste or feeling. One of the complications that can occur as a result of a craniotomy is seizures. Antiepileptic medications can help to control seizures. You and your doctor will decide which drug is best for you based on factors such as your age, the type of seizure and your general health.

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Nausea and vomiting

Vomiting is the uncontrollable reflex that expels your stomach contents through your mouth. Nausea and vomiting on its own is rarely a cause for concern. Many conditions and diseases cause nausea and vomiting such as motion sickness and emotional distress. It can be caused by something more serious such as a brain injury putting pressure on the brain. Over-the-counter medications and home remedies will relieve most cases of nausea and vomiting. However, vomiting due to pressure on the brain will disappear once surgery has taken place. Recovery from surgery usually takes a few days, unless there are complications. In some cases, the hematoma can come back and has to be drained again.

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Weakness or numbness

From sleeping in the wrong position to sitting for a long time, you have probably experienced some numbness or weakness in your life. Numbness or weakness can occur in your extremities from time to time for many different reasons. However, these symptoms may be the sign of a more severe problem. If you have experienced a recent head injury, you need to pay attention to any weakness or numbness. Some people will find that all weakness and numbness disappear after surgery. Others may see that they still feel weakness in their limbs. If you are one of these people, you may need to have physiotherapy or occupational therapy to help you return to your normal activities.

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Paralysis on one side of the body

Causes of paralysis on one side of the body include stroke, tumors or trauma. Blunt trauma to the right or left side of the head may result in paralysis on only one side of the body. The other side of the body remains unaffected. Any paralysis is cause for concern because it could indicate a stroke, a brain tumor or injury. If paralysis is due to a subdural hematoma, surgery will relieve the pressure on the right or left side of the brain and the paralysis will disappear. If any problem remains after surgery, some physical therapy may help.

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Personality changes

When a person is suffering from confusion, they may begin to act aggressively or unpredictably. They may go through rapid mood swings and suffer from memory loss. When this occurs gradually over a while, as is often the case with a minor subdural hematoma, it may be mistaken for dementia. The person should be carefully monitored and prevented from harming themselves or others. If the behavior is the result of a subdural hematoma, these personality changes will disappear after surgery as there is no more prolonged pressure on the brain.

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Visual problems

The brain plays an essential part in enabling you to see so any brain injury can result in visual problems. You may experience double vision or find that part of your visual field disappears. There is nothing wrong with your eyes, but there is damage to the visual areas of the brain.If you have any problems after undergoing surgery, you may need some rehabilitation before returning to normal activities. A physiotherapist may help with movement problems. An occupational therapist can help with making daily tasks more manageable. Some psychological support may also be necessary to maintain a full recovery.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.